Working the System! Motions for Extension of Time

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In my continuing series of articles on how to legally and validly “work the system” in divorce court, there is something under the law called a “Motion for Extension of  Time”.  Lawyers use this as a strategy, to buy themselves or their clients more time in which to file a responsive pleading, or to enlarge the time allowed to produce discovery (financial disclosure) documents. 

Certain events in divorce law have a time frame and deadline.  For example, if a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served against a spouse, that spouse by law has 20 calendar days in which to file an answer, after which, technically, they are in default. 

If, on day #19, the spouse decides to hire a divorce lawyer, that lawyer needs more time to fashion an answer to the petition.  So that lawyer will file a motion for extension of time in which to file an answer and perhaps reserve the right to even file a counter petition.  Merely by filing for an extension of time, the lawyer gets an extension of time.  It’s a gimme or a mulligan, if you are a golfer.

The divorce court judge may put a future deadline on the task, but mission accomplished, none the less.  The same tactics are legitimately used with discovery deadlines.  By filing a motion to enlarge time, your lawyer gets an extended deadline and more time for you to comply. 

The danger lies in repeated infractions.  If a second motion dare to be filed, the judge will catch onto these antics and that is sanctionable to the lawyer or the client or both, for game playing and intentionally causing delay.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at


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